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Retaliatory eviction is a term used to describe an eviction of a tenant by a landlord or agent where there is a lack of justification to do so and recent events between a tenant and landlord or agent have caused dissagreement. One example could be where a tenant has been making repeated complaints to the landlord or agent or is resisting a change to circumstance like a significant rental increase. In future, where there is evidence that a retaliatory eviction has taken place there could be repercussions.The RLA (Residential Landlords Association) has this to say:
Earlier this year Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather introduced a Private Members' Bill to Parliament – the Tenancies (Reform) Bill – in an attempt to ban so called 'retaliatory' or 'revenge' evictions. Backed by a range of housing campaigners, lobbyists, and the Mayor of London, the Bill seeks to restrict a landlord's right to use a section 21 notice to regain possession of their property where a tenant has made a complaint about repair or housing conditions. The Bill failed to progress as too few MPs were present to force a vote and it ran out of time. However, a group of Liberal Democrat Peers has tabled an amendment to the Deregulation Bill that reintroduces the core elements of Teather's Bill. The RLA continues to oppose the measures contained in the amendment and believe it is the wrong approach to tackling the issue. The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector has now published its report into Retaliatory Eviction. The report says there is not enough evidence at present to justify more legislation, highlighting the lack of official statistics on the subject. The group also raises concerns about the ability of local councils to enforce legislation.
What happens next?
The new amendment is likely to be debated at the Bill's Committee Stage in the House of Lords, in January 2016. The RLA has now contacted key Peers to make them aware of the Bill's shortcomings. The RLA has also contacted the DCLG to discuss the likely impact of the Lords amendment and to propose alternative ways of dealing with the issue of retaliatory eviction. The RLA also wants to hear from landlords about their experience of using section 21 notices, and why they are so important to maintaining the confidence of those who invest in the PRS.
At present landlords can regain possession of their properties based on two key sections of the 1988 Housing Act. Section 21 - Gives a landlord a right of possession without having to give any reasons once the fixed term of a tenancy has expired. Section 8 - Allows a landlord to seek possession on a number of grounds including anti-social behaviour and tenant rent arrears. If a tenant refuses to leave the property on the date specified in a section 21 notice or a section 8 notice, landlords then have to apply to the courts for a 'possession order'.
- Not currently in legislation.
- Measures are considered to be good practice.